President’s Report 2018



President’s Report 2017/18

When I was preparing this report I read that Theresa May’s speeches often have over 150 redrafts – I can assure you that this report hasn’t. I also won’t subject you to any attempts at dancing!

I looked up what the President’s report should include. As a novice President I’ve spent a lot of time this year checking the ‘WI guidelines’ or asking Melanie – however I’ve never been very good at doing as I’m told. I will try. This report is supposed to be short, no more than 5 minutes and should be about ‘thank you’s’ and looking forward to our next year – so here goes…..

I want to start with a massive thank you to all of your committee. Their enthusiasm, hard work, support and fun are an inspiration. Unfortunately Sharon and Chris have had to stand down for family reasons. A special thank you must go to Celia and Jeanettte who are leaving the committee this year after a collective 7 years – I think they deserve a break but we will miss them greatly for their good humour, common sense, efficiency and energy. These flowers are a small show of our appreciation Jeanette.A final Committee thank you to my lovely VP Sue who unfortunately can’t be here tonight – I couldn’t manage without her.

I also want to thank all of you – for turning up at meetings, making the tea, making cakes, supporting our charities, organizing sub groups, attending events, helping at events, giving us feedback and ideas, the list goes on. The ‘guidelines’ say not to mention individuals because you’ll always forget someone so I won’t but Thank you, we couldn’t manage without you.

Before I look forward just a little reflection on this year – (I told you I wasn’t good at doing as I’m told). We bounded into our new roles last November like over-excited children with so much enthusiasm and so many ideas – possibly too many. I think we’ve settled down a little but I’m proud of the year we’ve had. Especially the ‘Bit on the Side’ (thanks for the idea Katie) which has given members the opportunity to participate in a broad range of activities and outings; the monthly Coffee mornings (another great idea – thanks Rosemary); our participation in community events – the Bognor Carnival and Hotham Park Fair and taking part in the National event ‘Processions’ in London. We’ve also taken part in many activities celebrating the 100thanniversary of the Representation of the People Act. The highlight of the year for me was the ‘Women Go Wild’ camp organized by East Sussex – it represented everything that the WI stands for – friendship, trying out new activities and learning from each other but mostly it was fun.

2019 is a special year for West Sussex Federation as we celebrate our 100th anniversary. There’s a flyer with all the planned celebrations and activities with dates for your diary on the sign up table. It will be our own 10thBirthday – how many here tonight have been members for 9 years? That’s brilliant.

And going into 2019 we have a new venue, a new committee with more ideas and an exciting programme of speakers and activities. Our WI is always moving forward whilst keeping an eye on what has come before. We’ll continue to make good use of social media Facebook, Twitter and more recently Instagram to promote our WI and share ideas with other WI’s. Our website is regularly updated (thanks to Kate) and a great place to discover what’s going on, not just with our WI but in West Sussex and National too. We love your ideas and feedback whether it’s good or more critical – we know we don’t always get it right.

The cover of this month’s WI life is ‘100 years of Changing the World’ and inside there’s a summary of the most successful and groundbreaking campaigns, many of which are about supporting and empowering women. The first resolution, passed exactly 100 years ago in October 1918, was ‘support for state-aided housing’.  I’d like to see us continue to support the campaigns and we’ll try to keep you up to date with ways you can get involved.

I’m proud to be a small part of the WI, one of about 220,000 women across the UK. I’ve been especially proud this year to be President of Bognor Regis WI. I hope you feel we’ve listened to you. How long have I been? 5 minutes? Maybe time to stop? Still trying to keep to the guidelines! Thanks for listening and here’s to another year of fun and friendship.

Dinah Barrand